Many bakers (especially grandmas, in my experience) just love not sharing their secrets. "What makes your cookies so great?" you'll ask, only to get a sly, self-satisfied smile and a coy, "it's my secret". I don't know about you, but this basically sets in motion my conspiracy theorist: is it spit? Is it dog food? What about this ingredient makes it worthy of being secret? Seriously, grandma!
Well, not me. I'm always happy to tell you the secret ingredient.
And now, I'm going to do just that. I'm going to tell you the simplest little thing that you can add to your next pumpkin pie to take it from super to MOTHER-EFFING SPECTACULAR.
It's white chocolate.
Yep. Despised by foodies, deplored by people who try to melt it using the same methods that work with dark chocolate, accused of being "not real chocolate" by people who really like saying "actually..." and then arguing everything that you say. White chocolate is the key to making your pumpkin pie really, really shine.
Let me tell you how I know this.
A few years ago, I had a random half-bar of good quality white chocolate, and for no particular reason, decided to break it up and place it along the crust before filling it with the pumpkin filling. I figured it wouldn't hurt the pie, and it would be a good way to just get rid of that bar.
Well, when the pie baked up, I forgot about it, but everyone complimented the pie a lot more than usual. "What did you put in this?" everyone asked. I told them, but I forgot about the chocolate, so I guess I sort of inadvertently kept it a secret.
The next day I remembered, and realized that this must have been what made the difference.
So I made pumpkin pie with a lining of white chocolate the next time. And once again, everyone raved over it. And I really took note of the flavor. It's really a unique combination. You get the high, unrelentingly sweet flavor of the white chocolate, and it just pulls the pumpkin out of its earthiness and into rich, flavorful dessert territory. It keeps the pumpkin flavor from being too heavy, and brings out the butteriness of the crust. It's like morsels of magic, not white chocolate, have been added.
More than ever before, my pies began disappearing as quickly as they made them when I included the "secret ingredient". So I kept on making my pumpkin pie with white chocolate.
Here, you can see how it slightly oozes from the bottom of the crust. Please excuse the top of the pie - I had put it under the broiler to try to make the top toasty and went a little too far, but it was still delicious!
So now, I want to tell you the secret to making your next pumpkin pie incredible. Promise me you'll try.
How to make your next pumpkin pie incredible.
- Your fave pumpkin pie recipe (or use mine, it's a good one)
- 1 bar (3.5 ounces) good quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Prepare your pie dough, and put it in your pie plate. On top, before baking, scatter the white chocolate evenly over the bottom of the crust.
Prepare your pumpkin pie recipe per the instructions (perhaps of interest: this post on how to make canned pumpkin taste better). Pour the filling right on top of the white chocolate.
Bake and cool per the recipe instructions. Enjoy what promises to be an extra-special pie.